The Unquiet Heart

The Unquiet Heart
Gordon Ferris
Reviewed by Barry Forshaw
Thu, 01/12/2011

The Unquiet Heart follows Truth, Dare, Kill, the first in Gordon Ferris’s series featuring 1940s private eye Danny McRae. 

With Ferris, it is hard to know what to praise first: the striking evocation of austerity Britain or the powerfully handled crime narrative with strongly delineated characters. London in 1946 is suffering under the privations of rationing. Low-rent private detective Danny McRae is holding down a precarious living when he meets reporter Eve Copeland, desperate to find new initiatives to kickstart her faltering career.

The two make a good team, until Eve vanishes -- and one of Danny’s contacts comes to a brutal end. Danny is soon plunged into a dark, minatory world of black-marketeers and double agents, even travelling to a war-damaged Berlin, where the Cold War is lurching into menacing life. What is particularly encouraging here is the author’s determination to continue to produce fresh and invigorating work; all the elements that made the earlier books accessible are in place (quirky, idiosyncratic characterisation and wonderfully evoked wartime locales), but adding the early shoots of the cold war as a crucial part of the plot engine works wonderfully in moving the novels on from the concerns of its predecessors.
Ferris is a writer to watch.

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